It is not uncommon for us to hear from a prospective Hawaii real estate buyer that they love Maui or Kauai, but feel they can get more for their money on the Big Island. That’s probably true, however, the September cover story in Honolulu Magazine The 25 Most Expensive Homes in Hawaii concludes that “When it comes to outrageous real estate, it’s all about the Big Island, where you’ll find nine of the 10 most expensive homes in Hawaii, all strung along the Kona Coast.”
Newly listed 9,000 sq. ft. Kukio residence would not make the Top 25 at under $14 million (MLS# 238207)
Theirs is not a list of the 25 most expensive homes for sale, but the highest assessed values on County tax records. If you are searching for luxury real estate in Hawaii, the list does give an indication of which are the priciest neighborhoods…and who might be your neighbors if you were to purchase in those neighborhoods. More than half of the homes listed are on the Big Island, in the stretch north of the Kona airport that includes Kukio and Hualalai resorts in the Kona district, up to the Mauna Kea resort in the district of South Kohala.
Most Big Island residents and real estate agents would cringe at referring to our Kohala gold coast as the “Kona Coast,” but perhaps editors were afraid that the casual reader might be confused between Kohala Coast and Kahala Avenue on Oahu, where the next group of most expensive would be found. As the photos accompanying the article make clear, whether the homes are in Kohala, Kahala or even Wailea on Maui, virtually all of the top 25 are oceanfront or beachfront properties.
The least expensive home on the magazine’s top 25 list is worth “only” $16 million; of the 10 most expensive properties currently listed for sale on the Big Island, only three are pricier. Topping the list at $20.5 million is a relatively modest 5,614 Hualalai residence…remember that value in this category of real estate has little to do with the replacement cost of the home, and more to do with the three top determinants of value: location, location, location.
What really makes the Big Island stand out in my mind is that outrageous real estate here is not limited to what we might call the “resort-style” home found in Kukio, Hualalai, Mauna Kea or oceanfront Maui, nor the hotel-style popular on Kahala Avenue. Two of the current ten most expensive listed properties would allow someone like me to live their dream Hawaii lifestyle; I am pretty sure the CC&Rs at the other eight would not be welcoming to my horses, no matter how upscale or well-groomed!
If a luxury equestrian property in Hawai’i would be your dream come true, let me suggest two options.
This Waikii Ranch 9,000 sq. ft. European-designed horse barn is larger than the human residence (MLS# 230699 )
The finest estate at upcountry Waiki’i Ranch is on the market for $18,500,000 including 53 acres with ocean views of the entire Kohala Coast, a 5-bedroom log cabin style main residence, guest cottage, and living quarters in the barn. As a horse person I understand perfectly why someone would build a 7,000 sq. ft. home with a 9,000 sq. ft. barn, and 14,000 sq. ft. riding arena!
Puakea Bay Ranch oceanfront estate could be purchased with adjoining 20 acres (MLS# 232548)
My other favorite combines the best of both worlds: an oceanfront location within a ranch community where you could purchase adjacent lots for your own 25-acre ranch and build equestrian facilities to suit your riding or breeding objectives. The 11,356 sq. ft. home with tennis court and pool is located up the coast near the charming rural town of Hawi, where trade winds sweep any remnants of vog out to sea. The asking price for the residence is $13,750,000, but I’d be willing to bet you could get the sellers to throw in the two additional 10-acre lots for that price.
A hui hou,
Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B)